Virginia New Laws 2023
The Virginia legislature has been busy in 2023. We have attempted to gather information about new laws that may be of particular interest. Beginning July 1, 2023, the following new laws will go into effect in Virginia:
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage — Va. Code § 38.2-2206
This bill was passed in an earlier session of the General Assembly but goes into effect on July 1, 2023. The new law offers a benefit to Virginia motorists as their uninsured or underinsured coverage will now stack and be added to available liability insurance coverage. For more information about how this law may be applicable to you, see our underinsured motorist coverage article.
Medical Marijuana – HB2368
Requires cannabis product labels to be complete, accurate, easily discernable, and uniform among different products and brands and that each label, which shall be included on the product and on the pharmaceutical processor’s website, (i) include (a) the product name, (b) all active and inactive ingredients, (c) the total percentage and milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol included in the product and the number of milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol in each serving, (d) the amount of product that constitutes a single serving and the amount recommended for use by the practitioner or dispensing pharmacist, (e) information regarding the product’s purpose and detailed usage directions, and (f) child and safety warnings in a conspicuous font and (ii) comply with any requirements imposed by the Board of Pharmacy.
Marijuana Advertising – SB1233
Makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to advertise in or send any advertising matter into the Commonwealth regarding marijuana, marijuana products, or any substance containing a synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol or synthetic derivative of tetrahydrocannabinol other than those that may be legally sold in the Commonwealth. The bill establishes numerous restrictions on marijuana advertisements, including provisions that prohibit advertisements from (i) targeting minors; (ii) being placed near schools, playgrounds, and certain other places; (iii) being displayed at a sporting event or on a billboard; (iv) being misleading, deceptive, or false; (v) referencing the intoxicating effects of marijuana; or (vi) promoting over-consumption or consumption by minors.
Deceased Spouse Medical Bills – HB2343
Provides that liability shall not be imposed upon one spouse for medical care furnished to the patient spouse when such patient spouse predeceases the non-patient spouse. Mutual liability for necessaries; furnishing of medical care.
Health Insurance Tobacco Surcharge – HB 1375
Eliminates the authority of a health carrier to vary its premium rates based on tobacco use. Under current law, a health carrier may charge premium rates up to 1.5 times higher for a tobacco user than for a nonuser.
Virginia Retirement System: Return to Work/School Positions – SB1479
Reduces from 12 to six the number of months for the required break in service for a teacher, bus driver, school administrator, or school security officer to return to work full time and continue to receive his pension under the Virginia Retirement System (VRS).
Virginia Retirement System: Return to Work/Law-Enforcement Officers – SB1411
Directs the Virginia Retirement System and the Department of Criminal Justice Services, in consultation with the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, to analyze and report on options for allowing law enforcement officers to return to work as law-enforcement officers after retirement and continue to receive their retirement benefits.
Vehicle Headlights: Blue Light – SB855
Prohibits the use of headlights on motor vehicles, motorcycles, autocycles, bicycles, electric personal assistive mobility devices, personal delivery devices, electric power-assisted bicycles, mopeds, and motorized skateboards or scooters with aftermarket modifications that make such headlights appear as a blue light.
Rent Increases – HB1702
Requires a landlord who owns more than four rental dwelling units or more than a 10 percent interest in more than four rental dwelling units, whether individually or through a business entity, in the Commonwealth to, in the case of any rental agreement that contains an option to renew or an automatic renewal provision, provide written notice to the tenant notifying the tenant of any increase in rent during the subsequent rental agreement term no less than 60 days prior to the end of the current rental agreement term.
Strangulation – HB1673
Provides that any person who, without consent, impedes the blood circulation or respiration of another person by knowingly, intentionally, and unlawfully blocking or obstructing the airway of such person resulting in the wounding or bodily injury of such person is guilty of suffocation, a Class 6 felony.
Child Neglect — 1367
Clarifies that no child whose parent or other person responsible for his care allows the child to engage in independent activities without adult supervision shall for that reason alone be considered to be an abused or neglected child, provided that (i) such independent activities are appropriate based on the child’s age, maturity, and physical and mental abilities and (ii) such lack of supervision does not constitute conduct that is so grossly negligent as to endanger the health or safety of the child. The bill provides that such independent activities include traveling to or from school or nearby locations by bicycle or on foot, playing outdoors, or remaining at home for a reasonable period of time.
Stationary Vehicles – HB1932
Requires drivers to make a lane change or reduce speed when passing stationary vehicles that have activated the vehicular hazard warning signal flashers, displayed caution signs, or been marked with properly lit flares or torches on certain highways when safe and reasonable to do so and makes a violation of this requirement a traffic infraction.
Switchblade/Stiletto Knives – HB2298
Removes switchblade knives from and adds stiletto knives to the list of concealed weapons the carrying of which is prohibited in public.
Totaled Car: Access Personal Items – HB1516
Prohibits towing and recovery operators from refusing to allow, consistent with current law, the owner of a towed vehicle, upon presenting proof of ownership, to access and recover any personal items without retrieving the vehicle and without paying any fee. Towing and recovery operators; vehicle storage.
Uninsured Motorist Registration – SB951
Repeals the option to register an uninsured motor vehicle upon payment of the uninsured motor vehicle fee of $500. The repeal has an effective date of July 1, 2024. The bill authorizes the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles to continue registering uninsured vehicles from July 1, 2023, to July 1, 2024, but provides that all such registrations shall expire prior to July 1, 2024.
Pregnancy Expenses Shared Between Parents – HB2290
Provides that in the event that the initial petition for the establishment of parentage is commenced within six months of the live birth of a child, the judgment or order shall, except for good cause shown or as otherwise agreed to by the parties, apportion between the legal parents, in proportion to the legal parents’ gross incomes, as used for calculating the monthly child support obligation, (i) the mother’s unreimbursed pregnancy and delivery expenses and (ii) those reasonable expenses incurred by either parent for the benefit of the child prior to the birth of the child.
Assault and Battery Against Public Transportation Workers
Makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for a person to commit a battery against another knowing or having reason to know that such individual is an operator of a vehicle operated by a public transportation service who is engaged in the performance of his duties. The bill requires the sentence of such person, upon conviction, to prohibit such person from entering or riding in any vehicle operated by the public transportation service that employed such operator for a period of not less than six months as a term and condition of such sentence.
Burial Fees for Military Spouses – SB924
Provides that, from such funds as may be appropriated or otherwise received for such purpose, the Commonwealth shall pay any burial fee for (i) a member of the National Guard and Reserve or (ii) a deceased spouse of a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces or of the National Guard and Reserve, regardless of whether such spouse’s death precedes or succeeds the death of the member or veteran.
Dentists Administer Botox Injections – SB1539
Provides that, in addition to the possession and administration of botulinum toxin injections for dental purposes, a dentist may possess and administer botulinum toxin injections for cosmetic purposes, provided that the dentist has completed training and continuing education in the administration of botulinum toxin injections for cosmetic purposes.
Removal of Immobile Vehicles – HB2191
Allows for the removal of certain unattended or immobile vehicles by the locality’s civil code enforcement division. Current law provides that such removal must be carried out under the direction of a law-enforcement officer or other uniformed employee of the local law-enforcement agency who specifically is authorized to do so.
Peeping or Spying Into Dwelling — HB1583
Prohibits any person from knowingly and intentionally causing an unmanned aircraft system to secretly or furtively peep, spy, or attempt to peep or spy into or through a window, door, or other aperture of any building, structure, or other enclosure occupied or intended for occupancy as a dwelling, whether or not such building, structure, or enclosure is permanently situated or transportable and whether or not such occupancy is permanent or temporary, without just cause, under circumstances that would violate the occupant’s reasonable expectation of privacy.
Renting of Uninhabitable Apartment – HB1635
Provides that a tenant may terminate the rental agreement and receive a full refund of all deposits and rent paid to the landlord if, at the beginning of the tenancy, a condition exists in the rental dwelling unit that constitutes a fire hazard or serious threat to the life, health, or safety of tenants or occupants of the premises, including an infestation of rodents or a lack of heat, hot or cold running water, electricity, or adequate sewage disposal facilities, so long as the tenant provides the landlord notice of his intent to terminate the rental agreement within seven days of the date on which possession of the dwelling unit was to have transferred to the tenant. The bill requires the landlord to provide the tenant a refund of all deposits and rent paid on or before the fifteenth business day following the day on which (i) the termination notice is delivered to the landlord or (ii) the tenant vacates the dwelling unit, whichever occurs later, unless the landlord provides to the tenant written notice of his refusal to accept the tenant’s termination of the rental agreement, along with the reasons for such refusal, within 15 business days following the date on which such termination notice was delivered to the landlord.
Landlord/Tenant Act: Security Deposits – SB891
Increases from 15 to 30 days the additional time period that a landlord has to provide a tenant with an itemization of damages to the premises and the cost of repair when such damages exceed the amount of the tenant’s security deposit and require the services of a third-party contractor.
Passing Stopped School Buses — HB1723
Extends from 10 days to 30 business days the deadline for issuing a summons for an alleged violation of passing a stopped school bus in order for proof that the motor vehicle passed a stopped school bus and that the defendant was the registered owner of the vehicle to give rise to a rebuttable presumption that the owner of the vehicle was the operator during the violation.
Fentanyl – Weapon of Terrorism – SB1188
Includes any mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl, including its isomers, esters, ethers, salts, and salts of isomers, as a weapon of terrorism for the purpose of defining terrorism offenses. The bill provides that any person who knowingly and intentionally manufactures or knowingly and intentionally distributes a weapon of terrorism when such person knows that such weapon of terrorism is, or contains, any mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl is guilty of a Class 4 felony.
Firearm Safety Device Tax Credit – HB2387
Establishes a nonrefundable income tax credit for taxable years 2023 through 2027 for individuals who purchase one or more firearm safety devices, as defined in the bill, in an eligible transaction, as defined in the bill. An individual who properly claims this credit shall be allowed a credit in the amount of up to $300 for the cost incurred in such purchase. The aggregate amount of credits allowable under the provisions of the bill shall not exceed $5 million per taxable year.
Pharmacist Treatment of Certain Illnesses – SB948
Allows pharmacists to initiate treatment with, dispense, or administer controlled substances or devices for the initiation of treatment of group A Streptococcus bacteria infection, influenza virus infection, COVID-19 virus infection, and urinary tract infection to persons 18 years of age or older with whom the pharmacist has a bona fide pharmacist-patient relationship in accordance with regulations set forth by the Board of Pharmacy.
Law-Enforcement Officers and Firefighters: Workers’ Compensation – HB1775
Provides that an anxiety disorder or depressive disorder, as both are defined in the bill, incurred by a law-enforcement officer or firefighter is compensable under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act on the same basis as post-traumatic stress disorder, except in the case of responding to crime scenes for investigation. The bill provides that a mental health professional must diagnose the covered individual as suffering from anxiety disorder or depressive disorder as a result of a qualifying event, defined in the bill as an incident or exposure occurring in the line of duty on or after July 1, 2023, and includes other conditions for compensability.
Jury Duty Allowance – HB2317
Increases the jury duty allowance from $30 to $50 per day.
Dashcam Use – SB1058
Allows the suspension and use of any dashboard camera and any accompanying wires or attachments in or on a motor vehicle, provided that (i) such suspension and use are not otherwise prohibited by the provisions of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations and (ii) such camera, wires, and attachments are wholly or mostly concealed behind the rear view mirror without any additional obstruction to the driver’s view.
Catalytic Converter Possession – SB1135
Makes it a Class 6 felony for any person to sell, offer for sale, or purchase a catalytic converter from a motor vehicle exhaust system that has been detached from a motor vehicle, except when such sale, offer for sale, or purchase is made to or by a scrap metal purchaser that has adhered to the required compliance provisions. The bill provides that a judge or jury may make a permissive inference that a person who is in possession of a catalytic converter that has been removed from a motor vehicle is presumed to have criminally obtained such catalytic converter unless the person is an authorized agent or employee acting in the performance of his official duties for a motor vehicle dealer, motor vehicle garage or repair shop, or salvage yard that is licensed or registered by the Commonwealth or a person who possesses vehicle registration documentation indicating that the catalytic converter in the person’s possession is the result of a replacement of a catalytic converter from a vehicle registered in that person’s name.
Stopping for Pedestrians – SB1069
Requires the driver of a vehicle on a highway approaching a pedestrian who is crossing such highway to stop when such pedestrian is within the driver’s lane or within an adjacent lane and approaching the driver’s lane. Currently, a driver is required to yield the right-of-way to such pedestrian by stopping and remaining stopped.
False Communication to Emergency Personnel – HB1572
Provides that it is a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person to knowingly report, or cause another to report in reliance on intentionally false information provided by such person, a false emergency communication to any emergency personnel that results in an emergency response. The bill also provides that it is a Class 6 felony if such false emergency communication results in an emergency response and any person suffers a serious bodily injury as a direct and proximate result of the false emergency communication and a Class 5 felony if any person is killed as a direct and proximate result of the false emergency communication. The bill authorizes any locality to provide by ordinance that a person convicted of such false emergency communication shall be liable for the reasonable expense in responding to such false emergency communication.
We hope our reporting of the new laws in Virginia for 2023 has been helpful. Ritchie Law Firm is a personal injury law firm devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence. Ritchie Law Firm serves all of Virginia, while helping clients in cities and surrounding areas of Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Staunton, and Winchester and also serves clients in West Virginia, including Martinsburg, WV.
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